Self-reliance as an aim in education
Edalia, Julius Obote
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This study has a its express purpose the bringing to light, a phenomenon of educational concern. That phenomenon is self-reliance. Our interest is primarily drawn in the direction of looking at self-reliance as an aim in education. Because our focus is directed at self-reliance as an aim in education' and initial question of primary concern arises. What conception of education do we adopt? In this study, we adopt Freire's concept of projective process of becoming critically sware of one’s reality in a manner that leads to effective action upon it. This conception allows us to assert that education should be seen, primarily, as a humanizing enterprise in which both student and teacher occur as subjects. Granted such a view, we are able to reject the teacher-centred perspective of education in which the student is reduced to the status of an object. We are also able to reject the student-centred perspective of education by affirming the student's encounter with nature as primordial to his encounter with the teacher. It is in the context of our view of education that we argue the case for 'self -reliance.' In attempting to execute the central task at our hands, this study answers two inter-related questions. (i) What is self-reliance? (ii) How is self-reliance to be achieved through the process of education? The first question presupposes a particular conception of the 'self ', which further we desire to capture the self as pointing to man in his totality, a desire that leads us to adopt the existential phenomenological approach. With this approach, we are able to capture the self as a contingent being as reflected in its being, Viz; a being-of and a being-of- relations. This exposition is carried out in the second chapter of this study. The third chapter attempts to look at the phenomenon of self-reliance. First, ‘reliance’ is posited as a mode of human involvement in the world, justified by our claim in chapter two that the self is a being-of relations. As a human phenomenon, 'reliance' is pointed to as the self's reposing of trust in somebody or something. From this it follows that when one talks of self-reliance, one views oneself as a being-of-worth, as a being to encounter which 'specks' to him in a critical way about reality. In understanding reality in dynamic terms as transformable, one comes to the realization of personal responsibility in the shaping and defining of his destiny. Chapter four deals with self-reliance as an aim in education. Here, education is further emphasized as a humanizing enterprise and self-reliance is pointed to as the primary aim of such an education. Comparing this with the 8-4-4 educational systems in Kenya, we see that in the context of our findings, the 8-4-4 systems need not emphasize vocational and technical subjects if the desire is to produce authentically self-reliant individuals. Rather, what should be emphasized is dialogue. For out of dialogue arises critical consciousness which is the fundamental hallmark of a self-reliant person; a person who is self-motivated and makes authentically personal choices. He takes the full responsibility for shaping his destiny in history.